QUESTION: In an effort to manage exposure during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are trying to expand the use of telehealth throughout our system. Do we need to grant “telemedicine privileges” to Medical Staff members who have already been credentialed and privileged before the pandemic started if they are now using telehealth to treat patients remotely? We are Joint Commission accredited.
ANSWER: This question seems to be coming up a lot. Fortunately, The Joint Commission has given out some good guidance on how to handle this issue during the COVID crisis. In an FAQ document, The Joint Commission has advised:
“Licensed Independent Practitioners (LIP) CURRENTLY credentialed and privileged by the organization, who would now provide the same services via a telehealth link to patients, would not require any additional credentialing or privileging. The medical staff determines which services would be appropriate to be delivered via a telehealth link. There is no requirement that ‘telehealth’ be delineated as a separate privilege.” (Emphasis added.)
This Standards FAQ can be found here.